Confused? Us too. Early reports claimed Snyder's editor's cut of the controversial 2017 film wouldn't require any reshoots, just lots of editing, some new special effects, and a bit of over-dubbed voice acting. However, that’s no longer the case and production is already underway on the highly-anticipated movie. As if that wasn't surprising enough, Leto’s casting marks the first time he’ll play the Joker since 2016’s Suicide Squad, and his Justice League role could finally explain a huge mystery introduce in Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In June, Snyder confirmed that 2021’s Justice League would include “a hint” regarding the backstory of Robin’s death at the hands of the Joker. The Boy Wonder’s tragic end was alluded to in Batman v Superman when Batman silently walks past his former partner’s bloodied and beaten suit in the Batcave. Written across the chest plate of Robin’s costume are the words, “Ha Ha Ha. Joke’s on you, Batman.”
The Joker never actually appeared in that movie or in 2017’s Justice League, but his involvement in Robin’s death is rather obvious. Now that Leto is appearing in the Snyder Cut, that hint Snyder mentioned could become a much larger storyline in the film.
While it’s unclear how the Joker will fit into the Justice League’s plot, it’s possible that Snyder plans on filming flashbacks detailing the brutal event of Robin’s death. It would certainly help tie up any loose ends from Batman v Superman while providing context to an otherwise inconsequential Easter egg. It would also expand upon Batman’s history with the Crown Prince of Crime.
We know Snyder's Batman has been after Joker for a long time. That was on full display in Suicide Squad, which saw the Dark Knight pursue the Joker and Harley Quinn in a car chase. Joker got away, of course, and the scene ultimately amounted to nothing.
However, Leto’s return in Justice League likely means they’ll cross paths again. This time, it may prove far more relevant to the story. Perhaps Batman will track down the Joker to confront him about killing Robin and the two will clash once more. At the very least, their potential confrontation may finally offer Batman some closure.
In the comic book story Batman: A Death in the Family, the Joker beats and tortures Jason Todd’s iteration of Robin with a crowbar before blowing up the warehouse with him inside. Jason’s death weighed heavily on Batman for a long time and it left things unresolved with the Joker. Ultimately, Jason is resurrected and returns to Gotham City as Red Hood, but the Joker’s actions left a gaping wound that couldn’t be so easily fixed.
Of course, Snyder has previously confirmed that the Robin who died was Dick Grayson (the original Boy Wonder), changing the famous storyline in a major way. Should the Snyder Cut address Robin’s death in a flashback, they’d have to cast someone to play the character. That is exciting because Dick has yet to appear in the DCEU. Regardless of what’s in store, however, Leto’s casting means that we may finally get some answers to unresolved storylines.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is slated to premiere on HBO Max in 2021.